Apparently Cantor isn't the only House Republican that can throw a hissy-fit. And it sounds like Obama is increasingly looking towards the "constitutional option". I think the 14th amendment case is weak. Certainly it's grounds for continuing to pay actual debt obligations, but I don't think that was ever in question by anyone. It doesn't really provide cover for other obligations.
But he can cite the 14th amendment if it makes him feel better - I'd just cite Article 1, section 8. Two things Congress unambiguously has the authority to do are spend money and levy taxes. The math on this isn't tough:
Outlays - revenues = deficits
Congress has specified the left hand side of the equation for the president by statute. They don't get to rewrite the laws of arithmetic by statute. The very idea of a debt limit is stupid, and the president is put in an impossible position here. He has to break some law here - a debt limit law, an appropriations law, or a tax law. It seems to me breaking the first of those three laws makes the most sense. Congress has maintained control over taxing and spending for over three hundred years. We've only had a debt limit for about 70 years, it's only really been binding for about 40 years and in those 40 years it's been increased essentially as a formality. A law has to be broken, and adhering to the debt law rather than a tax or spending law seems to me like it would be a greater affront to American democracy and liberty. It would better if we just let the laws of arithmetic alone and didn't pass these things, of course.
My one concern is that a non-trivial segment of the population already sees Obama as a tyrant. If Fox News and others starts talking about Obama directly flaunting the will of the Congress, this could get very ugly, very fast.
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